Saturday, July 4, 2009

Recap for G79 - Astros @ Giants

Man, this offensive slump couldn't be much worse, huh? Tim Lincecum absolutely dominated the Astros today in San Francisco, holding the Astros to three hits over seven innings, running his personal scoreless inning streak to 23, and the Astros' team inning scoreless streak to 18.

The Astros have actually been shut out in two consecutive games once already this season, just to two different opponents: April 12 @ St Louis and April 13 @ Pittsburgh. Now, they did give up 22 runs in two consecutive games in the Hurricane Ike aftermath @ Florida on 9/17-18, when they were defeated 14-2 and 8-1, but it's been since June 27-28, 2006 @ Detroit since the Astros have been shutout in consecutive games by a single opponent (Clemens and Pettitte took the losses).

But this 9-0 loss to the Giants was just brutal. Russ Ortiz, in a return to the site of former glory, cruised along for five innings, giving up just two earned runs, before the wheels fell off in a 6-run 6th. In the 5th, Ortiz walked Tim Lincecum - he of the .171 average - who scored on a Pablo Sandoval single. The Astros couldn't get the double play turned to get out of the 5th inning, allowing Winn to score on a fielder's choice, who then scored on a Pudge passed ball. 2-0, after five.

In the sixth, Ortiz got two quick outs, then gave up...
Ishikawa: infield single
Uribe: single
Lincecum: another walk
Rowant: 2-run single
Winn: 2-run double
Sandoval: intentional walk

That was the day for Ortiz, but not the damage, because Sampson came in and gave up an RBI double to Molina, and an RBI single to Schierholtz - both runs charged to Ortiz.

Let's do the thing:
Ortiz: 5.2IP, 9H/8ER, 7K:5BB, 15/30 first-pitch strikes, 27/63 non-contact strikes
Sampson: 1.1IP, 2H/0ER, 1K, 5/6 FPS, 6/13 NCS
Valverde: 1IP, 1H/1ER, 4/4 FPS, 1/6 NCS

The Giants, who have outscored the Astros 22-0 in these two forgettable games, are aiming for a chapter in the book of lore that is the Astros-Giants history. From May 15-17, 2006, the Giants outscored the Astros 34-5 (10-1, 14-3, 10-1), all at Minute Maid Park. Fun, huh?

Offensively, there was nothing happening. Even though the Astros only managed three hits, they were 0x7 with RISP (compared to 6x12 for the Giants). Hits from Berkman, Blum, and Pudge - Berkman and Pudge for doubles - were all the Astros could get in the hits column, and Lance got both walks. Consider this, Lance's batting average now stands at .270. His OBP is .401. That's wild. The rest of the Astros? Not so much. Kaz Matsui is hitting .236 after going 0x3 and only seeing 10 pitches. Geoff Blum, despite getting a third of the Astros' hits, was 1x4 - with 10 pitches! Four of the Astros regular starting lineup is hitting .270 or worse (and that includes Berkman's tear of late, where he is right at .270).

Also consider this, over the last three games, the Astros have drawn seven walks. Berkman has five of them.

Man of the Match: I don't see any choice but to give it to Lance. He's hitting .455 over the last week, and after the 6/24 game versus Kansas City, when he went 0x5 to lower his average to .239, Lance has gone 15x29 and has a six-game hit streak going, with hits in 12 of his last 14 games.

Goat of the Game: I don't see any choice but to give it to Ortiz. This pass through a six-man rotation may only last a week, and only because it's turning into a contest of Who Sucks Worse? Although it should be pointed out that Ortiz hasn't given up 8ER combined since May 19 (9 appearances). Still...

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